February 28, 2005
Directory of Feeds?
Check out this press release on Nooked making a directory of RSS feeds.... Yes.. I can understand that desire for this sort of thing. Categories include: Arts & Humanities, Entertainment, Recreation & Sport, Technology, Automotive, Government, Reference, Business, Health, Regional, Education, News & Media, Science. Yes, that covers the entire world of RSS at Nooked sees it. And yes, we are again left feeling that top down categorization is lacking, but none the less, they say:
- Nooked is also inviting businesses to submit their RSS feeds to the Nooked RSS Directory, which will provide a useful means of increasing their RSS subscribers.
Reminds me of a story a friend tells about how in 1993, his secretary maintained a directory of all websites.. and so whenever anyone would make a new site, they would fax her the URL, so she could add it to the list. Then one day, some guys came by, asking about the list, and she mentioned it to my friend, who forgot about it. Later it turned out to be Jerry Yang at Yahoo. Was the basis for their hierarchical list.
The point is, though, that we cannot make lists of RSS feeds. We have to have search for them, and discovery. There is no way a list is scalable, categorizable, or anything else.
More Interesting Stuff This Week
Still catching up. Got no sleep Friday night, and ended up with a bad cold. In bed working.. but hopefully I'll make my meeting this afternoon. Oh and did I mention, a snow storm is rolling into NYC .. supposed to be slow moving, and so the airlines are reporting on their websites that flights may not go as planned today or tomorrow. Yeah. Did this delay thing out of here last month and now it appears I'm doing it all again. So it's snowing out the window.. lovely .. it reminded me of more things I'd meant to blog the last few days:
A podcast on the napsterization of TV (12.47 mb mp3, from Webtalk radio). One interesting point is that when the Supernova site was shut down a few months ago, it was over the distribution of movies and music, but the prosecutors didn't touch the TV aspects because of the perception that TV is free anyway and they didn't want to get into that argument. It was just easier to deal with the obvious movie and music copy-written content being distributed. They go off into podcasting about 20 minutes in.. or so.. so the title is a bit of a misnomer for the last 2/3.
Also, Adam Penenberg wrote last Thursday about the lack of attention the Wall Street Journal gets online.. because nobody can link to them. Adam and I talked about this a few months ago.. when I was at Technorati and he interviewed me for an article in August about the service. I mentioned that while the NY Times has tons of links, and is one of the most "authoritative" sources online, the WSJ is non-existent.. as far as linking and discussion attention go from bloggers, because they are a walled garden. I've blogged about it for a long time.
Adam takes an interesting view.. not about linking, though he does quote JD about the WSJ's lack of linkability, but rather the effects of this. Adam says that people are not finding the WSJ in google searches, or hearing it talked about, and so the WSJ is in danger of becoming irrelevant. And this may not be very reversible, if things continue as they are, because the WSJ.com biz model is based on the walled garden/paid subscription model. Their competitors like Forbes are free online, sans registration even, and therefore, it's allowed Forbes to get pretty entrenched as the source for online business news.
February 27, 2005
Auctions, Demos, Interesting Meetings
Okay.. done with the oscars.. not that interesting snarking on the perfect people.. anyway.. back to the rest of the last week.. though we did get the obligatory sermon about copying .. ooops, I mean the sermon on supporting the troops....
So I went to the Origins of Cyberspace auction on Wednesday at Christie's, and Mitch Kapor was there, buying the first biz plan for a computer company, the Eniac, and the first computer brochure, among about 8 items. It was a really cool experience seeing things get auctioned that way. First of all, anyone can go unless it's a popular auction requiring tickets. It's very formal, with auctioners changing about every hour. This one took about 2 hours, 15 minutes, so we had two different auctioners. There were phone banks to the sides, and phoned in bids were competing with those in the room. There were 5 or 6 people in the room who bid, including Mitch. The style of it represented a very formal old tradition, and yet there we were, looking at representations of cyberspace. Steven Levy was in the audience, as well as some other techy journalists, a few geeks with laptop bags... the woman at the front desk told me after a trip to the women's room that this particular auction had drawn an unusual crowd for them. Many of the items went for far less than estimated in the catalog, but a few went for more, with very rapid interested bidding. The Eniac biz plan was one of those sought after items.
Later that night, at the Trimtrab meeting at Google, Mitch was there, along with other folks who listened to Susan Crawford ask for brainstorming ideas for her NetDay initiative. The idea is that the net is fragile, an organic and mutable place, with lots of pressure to control it from small but powerful interests, and it's young enough that people don't yet have the experience they might need to judge whether or how much to protect the free and organic nature of it. So making people aware of these qualities and thoughts about conservation is a major goal for NetDay.
Open Source Usability Sprint
I just participated in the F/Loss Open Source Usability Sprint. My group was amazing, including Matt Mullenweg and Greg Elin, where we brainstormed a new way to use Greg's Fotonotes app, and then played around with it, did some usability work on it... and thought up some really cool ways to play with photos.
The people who put on the sprint were awesome, doing an amazing job, especially for the first time out at this. The other projects included:
My only regret was that I was so busy doing either my project or the more formal group activities designed by the Sprint organizers, that I didn't spend much time with people and their individual projects. However, it was really cool to get a little taste of the other projects, see where they are at with development and get to see them working. Really great stuff!
Oh My.. Where to Begin
So many things have been going on the past 10 days.. that I wanted to blog.. but for various reasons, lack of time, or being at a loss about what to share, among others, I've had posts in draft that didn't make it to the blog. So now, I'm sitting here watching the Oscars for the first time in years, I figured I should catch up. The guilt has been killing me. So.. I'll finish and post them.
February 17, 2005
"When Does Open Source Happen?"
From Steve Weber earlier today in Howard Rheingold's class: ".. when there is a disconnect between the activity in day to day businesss and this extraordinary promise of what can be...".
He also talked about how open source doesn't act like the traditional commons problem.. because there isn't a battle between open and closed systems, but rather a co-evolution. He said he doesn't yet know where the boundary is between open and closed systems, and that getting that allocation right will be hard.
Today was ripe with interesting talk, starting with Kaliya Hamlin and Sylvia Paull first thing, then onto lunch with Esme Vos, Adam Rifkin and Joyce Park. After that.. Weber on open source and pharma-biz... his latest book.. post The Success of Open Source, is apparently on this combination of drug company economics and open source models of production.. so he appeared to be trying on some of the concepts he's extended to think about drug production and arguing them before the class.
After that.. there was dinner for Greg Gershman of Blogdigger. Russell Beattie, Niall Kennedy, Susan Mernit, Esme and Kaliya, among others. Very nice time. Asked Greg about the search results, and he said they cover 250k RSS feeds, and the results for key words produce all instances of the word used in blog posts they are indexing. They too have search feeds, and so I've added all the feeds I search in duplicate to see how they compare to the rest of the search feeds and services I use.
February 16, 2005
Wordpress Upgrade Party
Lot's of folks sitting around on the floor and at the table blogging, chatting.. taking photos and posting them online.
Great time Matt! Thanks!
February 15, 2005
Elise Bauer just updated her Weblog Tools Market analysis today.. or rather published the results today. There is so much information analysis, I'm sure this took many more days than today to do. This chart shows the percentages of tool use based upon an analysis of Google links.
And Six Apart went live with their new site.
Kudos to both!!
February 08, 2005
Also, for fun, at the hotel, 800 people are arriving tomorrow for a "who wants to be a millionaire" conference.. unrelated to ours. Should be fun!
This Morning At The Toll Plaza
Unrelated to anything napsterization, this morning i saw Marc Canter in the toll lane next to me and decided to snap:
There are Feeds and Then There are Feeds
For the past three years, I've used a news aggregator. In the beginning, I had only a few feeds of the more read blogs, some intellectual property blogs because my first blog was on that topic, and at some point early on, the NY Times and the BBC started using RSS and I added those feeds too. At some point, I switched RSS aggregators, to get better features, and found it was easier to add feeds. So I added every blog I read. I would read the aggregator a couple of times a day, looking at posts written by friends, people who blog about expertise they have in a field and filter that field for me, and others with interesting content.
And about a year ago, I started adding Technorati watchlists, as well as Feedster and Pubsub search feeds, and del.icio.us, Furl and flickr feeds on tags, and looking up terms on Blogpulse and Bloglines, to see who linked to my blog, wrote about key words I cared about or were on a topic, project or company I was tracking. Sometime last summer, I realized that more than half my 300+ feeds were search feeds -- key words, URLs and in some cases other focusing information like say, the middle 50% of bloggers based upon inbound links. I would put these search criteria into any one of these services, on myself and my blogs, topics and people I'm interested in, companies and institutions I work for, and that I most often went to read those first. If I were working on something, I'd read the 20 or so search feeds that matter, maybe one or two bloggers that matter... and later go back and read the rest of my RSS feeds for more general use.
Then, after a while, I started reading all the search feeds first, and a few blogger's feeds, but the rest of the single blog feeds have become less important. Often, I see those blogger's (whose single feeds I subcribe to) posts in my search feeds, because they do blog on those topics I care about, though not all their posts are on those topics fit those search criteria. With a finite amount of time, increasingly defined information needs, and a desire to raise the signal to noise ratio, I rely more heavily on the search feeds, than other traditional RSS feeds that send me a single blog's or legacy news feed.
So will search feeds have ads? And will that mean that key word search terms might be sold to advertisers in order to match ads within these search-RSS-feeds, in the same way key words on are sold by traditional search services?
February 07, 2005
Clarification on Jeeves/Bloglines
Frank Barnako, of CBS Marketwatch, has written a piece suggesting, sort of, in 'Bloggers won't keep a secret' that I was asked NOT to blog the Jeeves/Bloglines story in my post (that appeared on Saturday, not Friday). In fact, no one who told me about it asked me not to blog it, though they all know I'm a blogger. I blogged the story after hearing it from different sources, because the information was clearly out.
However, if asked not to, I don't blog what people tell me in confidence, unless the information gets blogged elsewhere, and then I may comment on it. The many many people who do share confidential information with me, can attest to the fact that I've never blogged, nor shared, it otherwise. I also don't share currrent or former client information online or in person. Sorry.
Also, though my bio is out of date, I've graduated from SIMS at UCBerkeley, and now work as a technology consultant for several web 2.0-type startups as well as legacy media companies.
February 06, 2005
Superbowl, Tivo, Commercials
This probably is not what Tivo or the Superbowl had in mind. But hey, it's all about user control, right?
So I'm going to a friend's superbowl party today.. first a hike, during the game... then we return, fast forward to the commericals, and have a little food and drink while watching them. Can't wait.
Plus, it's been so sunny and warm here the past couple of weeks.. it should be a great hike in the Los Altos hills.
February 05, 2005
Ask Jeeves Buys Bloglines
(Updated 12:30pm. This was apparently going to be announced Tuesday, not Monday.)
That's the scoop. Ask Jeeves is integrating Bloglines into their search system (it's not yet live on their main site, til Monday as reported).
So Mark Fletcher will be their newest employee (starting next week?). Congratulations, Mark and Bloglines! Oh, and welcome to the blogosphere, Jeeves!
One thing to note, Ask Jeeves, or any other search company, could build a system like this very quickly. What they would have trouble doing is getting all the data, structured, organized and pulled, going back more than say, a month. That's because blog posts fall off the front pages (depending on frequency of blogging and how many posts the blogger displays) and go into archives. If you think about how many kinds of blog software exist, which means many different kinds of data structures for the blog post data, which then it's very difficult to get all the various types of data structured into a single database, just imagine how all the variants of those professionally and homegrown blog publishing systems differ for archival posts. Lots of people customize their archives, as I have in MT and other blogs I participate in with Wordpress, Typepad, etc. Spidering and structuring archives is really tough, tougher than getting the stuff on the tops of blogs right. The point is, a comprehensive database of blogs structured well, going back a couple of years, is really valuable. As is the knowledge of how to put that database together, and run it, along with understanding why this kind of search is very different than those done by Google or Ask Jeeves, whose results don't understand the temporal qualities of blog data, or other aspects that make it different.
Also, I'm sure Jeeves is asking himself how I know this. I learned it from a couple of folks. Once that happened, it seemed reasonable to blog it.